There is no doubt that you are probably aware of cranberry juice being one of the most recommended treatments for urinary tract infections. But there are a number of other benefits of cranberry juice that you might not be aware of.
The juice of this powerful little berry has a lot of scientific evidence to back up the claims which those who have valued cranberry juice probably already knew. We’ll take a look at 10 lesser known health benefits of cranberry juice in this article. But let’s get to know cranberries a little bit better first.
What Is Cranberry Juice?
Native Americans mixed mashed cranberries with melted fat and wild game to make a winter survival food known as pemmican. These berries come from a vine-like shrub that is typically found in the cooler, northern climates of Europe, North America, and southern Chile.
They tend to grow in boggy ground in the wild and are cultivated in similar soil. The berries are harvested and consumed primarily as juice, cranberry sauce, jams and marmalade.
Nutritional Value of Cranberry Juice
Low in calories and sugar, and with next to no fat or sodium, cranberry juice tops the charts as a health food. Cranberries contain tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which make it a part of the super-foods list. Let’s look at some of the nutrients present in cranberry juice. In just 8 oz. of cranberry juice are the following daily values (DV) of nutrients:
• Vitamin C – 39%, K – 16%, E (Alpha Tocopherol) – 15%, B6 – 7%;
• Copper – 7%;
• Potassium – 6%;
• Iron and Magnesium – 4%;
Besides having a low score on the glycemic index, cranberries also contain a long list of powerful antioxidants. Here are the four most prevalent antioxidants found in cranberry juice:
- Anthocyanins: These antioxidants are especially effective at destroying free-radicals in the bloodstream.
- Quercetin: This is a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant.
- Benzoic Acid: The antiseptic properties of this antioxidant help to eliminate infections.
- Epicatechins: Enhanced tissue growth, increased nitric oxide production, balanced insulin sensitivity and improving cognitive function. However, these are just a few of the benefits this powerful antioxidant provides.
With such a stellar nutritional profile, it is no wonder that scientists have been able to find evidence to support the benefits claimed by those who promote and regularly use cranberry juice.
10 Benefits of Cranberry Juice You Should Know
Prevention and Relief of Urinary Tract Infections
It is common knowledge that one of the many benefits of cranberry juice is in the prevention and relief of UTI’s. A study at the University of Stirling, UK backs up that claim with positive proof.
One of the surprising benefits of cranberry juice comes in its antitumor effects. A Dartmouth University study indicates that cranberry juice shows a great deal of promise as an inhibitor of cellular invasion and migration of cancerous tumors.
Improved Dental Health
Laval University in Quebec has conducted studies which point to improved dental health as another of the top benefits of cranberry juice. Cranberry juice works against the development of the biofilm by cariogenic bacteria on the teeth and gums.
Reduces Risk of Arthrosclerosis
Reducing your risk of arthrosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is another of the great benefits of cranberry juice. According to research conducted at the University of Wisconsin, the antioxidants found in cranberry juice:
Inhibit platelet aggregation and adhesion, inhibit enzymes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism.
The prevention of arthritis is another of the exciting benefits of cranberry juice. Kings College, UK points to anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin, found in cranberry juice. As per the study, it has an impact on arthritis symptoms.
Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis
Related to the periodontal study at Laval University, Quebec, the similar promising results were found in the reduction of bone loss and osteoporosis. This is another of the positive benefits of cranberry juice you might have not known.
Defense Against Common Colds and Flu
Defense against common colds and flu is one of the benefits of cranberry juice we can all get behind. Moreover, Israeli researchers reported that cranberry juice had a significant effect on inhibiting influenza virus adhesion and infectivity.
Prevents Kidney Stones
The consumption of cranberry juice significantly altered three main kidney stone risk factors, according to South African research. For kidney stone sufferers, this item on the list of benefits of cranberry juice is great news.
Prevention and Treatment of Peptic Ulcers
The prevention and treatment of peptic ulcers is also included in our list of proven benefits of cranberry juice.
Chinese studies conclude that consuming cranberry juice on a regular basis inhibits the development of helicobacter pylori infection. Consequently, this reverses and prevents peptic ulcers.
Prevents Psoriasis and Alopecia
Ohio State University research points to the anti-angiogenic properties of cranberry juice as an inhibitor of inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis and alopecia.
So clearing up your skin is yet one more of the benefits of cranberry juice.
A Note of Caution
As awesome as cranberries are, there are some negative side effects from consuming cranberry juice. Here are some conditions which you need to be aware of before using cranberry juice as a treatment for your health conditions.
- People with interstitial cystitis will worsen the condition by consuming cranberry juice.
- The acid in cranberry juice can cause wearing of tooth enamel when consumed in high quantities.
- Diabetics can consume cranberry juice in moderation. But they need to be careful about overdoing it.
Besides these notes of caution for certain health conditions, cranberry juice also creates adverse drug reactions with a couple of medications.
- Warfarin (Coumadin): This is an anticoagulant or blood thinner. Cranberry juice is high in vitamin K. This is the reason why it reacts against what these medications are attempting to correct.
- Aspirin allergies: Both cranberry juice and aspirin contain salicylic acid. More specifically, it is the substance that causes an allergic reaction in those who are allergic to aspirin. If you have an aspirin allergy, you need to also avoid cranberry juice.
Consuming unsweetened cranberry juice in moderation can help improve many health conditions. But it is not an all inclusive cure for all your various ailments. Before using cranberry juice as a therapy for certain conditions, you should consult a health care professional.
The benefits of this powerful little berry and the juice extracted from it are certainly impressive. Unsweetened cranberry juice, though it has a tangy zip which will take some getting used to, could help improve or prevent the 10 health conditions listed above when taken in moderation.
If you have any of the above health concerns, you might give cranberry juice a try. Also, don’t forget to add your questions, comments and success stories in the section below as well.